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Yeah, you can use the Task Manager in Windows to catch the freeze before it happens. So Windows does provide some freeze prevention.
The question is, which is more valuable: prevention or remedy? The Task Manager approach requires the user to monitor the system constantly to determine if a program is about to freeze. I never gained that insight; it just happened. The GNU/Linux approach is to provide a means to restore after-the-fact.
I know most people probably don't (or can't) monitor all the software running all the time the computer is running (think servers and people who leave their desktops on 24/7). So, in this case, the remedy is more valuable.
I'm not trying to suggest e!v!$ meant that the Task Manager was better or not, but that there is a difference in how the two operating systems can handle freezes, and that the options available in handling them should be an important consideration.
What do you mean? Explorer.exe can be completely frozen and taskman will still come up during almost every such freeze. And then you restart the gui - which you can tell you've done by the fact that things in your startup folder haven't restarted when the GUI responsiveness returns. It hasn't *completely* restarted, much less rebooted.
On the flipside, using admittedly buggy pctel modem drivers I *completely* locked the Linux machine repeatedly - no ctrl-x-x combos, no mouse movement, and no task manager to pop up. Why is the modem driver allowed to freeze the kernel? I thought the kernel was more protected than that. The only thing to do was hit and hold the power button.
Basically, Explorer is a crappy gui but the NT kernel is not too shabby. The Linux kernel is better and your KDEs and whatnot are better, while your window managers alone are much better. But it's only a matter of degree. NT is usually stable and can crash. Linux is more stable but can still crash - or at least completely lock, which is more annoying than a good old fashioned *blip*.
I think trying to pretend Linux is uncrashable and unvirusable and just the ultimate invulnerable OS will rightly have a lot of Windows users trying it and asking "What the hell?" (Not to mention take a really slack (npi) attitude to security, which will make them *less* secure.) The attitude that, technically NT is not bad and Linux is a bit better, while ethically, Microsoft is repugnant, is more accurate. I read somewhere "All computers and software suck - I try to use those that suck least." Amen.
Well, all I can say is on the freezes I've experienced, Task Manager would no longer come up. Different kind of failure, different kind of behavior I guess.
You're right, the Linux kernel is not bullet-proof. No piece of software is. You do have to find and use the one that sucks the least in the manner you use it.
As for the modem driver, provided my understanding is correct, when you load a driver, you're extending the kernel. The driver becomes part of the kernel. I mean, that's what a driver does: it controls access to the hardware. So the old addage "a chain is only as strong as its weakest link" applies here. Bad driver => bad kernel => more kernel panics. That's true of any operating system with loadable drivers. So yeah, if you kill the kernel by loading a driver that experiences a fault, then there's nothing you can do about it except push the big red button.
Yeah - Task Manager definitely doesn't always come up - it was just sounding like you meant it never came up. And, true, too, system behavior isn't consistent from user/op/system/machine to user/op/system/machine. YMMV.
I see what you're saying about the modules, too. I just assumed they were sort of... I dunno - kernel extensions, but there was still a sort of protected core or something. Like if the driver went haywire, the monolithic kernel part was still independent enough to slap it down.
I will add this, too - the parts of Linux that have been configured correctly or I've been able to configure correctly and the way it behaves in normal activities is usually solid. It's just a hell of a lot harder to get it that way. Whereas Windows mostly recognizes and runs hardware and software oob but will wig for no reason. Like I can erase a CD-RW and then try to write to it - simple. But sometimes it suddenly claims there's no writeable CD in the drive and ejecting and reinserting doesn't work - I have to log out and back in - not reboot, but re-log. It's dumb basic stuff like that that makes Windows a pain, just in day-to-day stuff, aside from the fact that it's Microsoft. Sometimes my sound gets a little crossed-up in Slack, or in XMMS, anyway, so again it's a matter of degree, but Linux gets confused a lot less than Windows.